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Plato’s Apology: Fake Charges Essay

1383 words - 6 pages

In this paper I will be discussing the four charges brought against Socrates in Plato’s essay The Apology and why exactly each of these charges is completely fictitious. The four charges brought against Socrates were that he argued the physical over the metaphysical, he argued the weaker claim over the stronger claim, he went against the gods, and he was corrupting the youth. Each of these four charges is false for varying reasons and I will be addressing each explanation on why each charge is a complete sham, after discussing each charge.
The first charge made against Socrates was that he argued the physical over the metaphysical. This charge says that he believed in reason and science ...view middle of the document...

This shows exactly how corrupt the courts were in trying Socrates for these ridiculous accusations.
Socrates was also charged with arguing the weaker claim over the stronger claim. The direct accusation is, “He makes the weaker argument defeat the stronger and he teaches these doctrines to others”. Basically, he would teach others to argue a claim just for the sake of arguing even if it is entirely wrong. This is exactly what the Sophists taught to the elite class. This is also one of the oldest accusations made against Socrates that lead to feelings of animosity years before this trial began.
Once again this is a ludicrous accusation. Socrates does the exact opposite of arguing the weaker claim over the stronger claim. He directly stated in the court, “I question, examine and cross-examine him, and if I think he has no virtue, but only says he has, I reproach him with undervaluing the greater, and overvaluing the lesser”. Therefore, when Socrates questions people about their expertise or knowledge in certain areas, he is making them question why they are placing so much value on a belief that does not possess as much virtue as they believe it does. Their accusation of Socrates is exactly what the Sophists taught to an elite class and none of them were prosecuted for these acts. Instead they were paid highly to do it. Also, Socrates did not teach anyone to do anything, rather he just pushed people to think more deeply into issues that they had overlooked as being obvious.
The third charge made against Socrates is that he went against the gods. Meletus, one of his accusers, alternates in the trial between accusing him of being an atheist and accusing him of believing in new gods rather than the gods of the state. The statement in their affidavit is that, “…he does not believe in the gods of the state. He has other new divinities of his own”. The “new divinities” refers to Socrates strong belief in the oracle at Delphi, whom he credits with acknowledging him as the wisest man.
This accusation is extremely ridiculous as well. Socrates accusers, in particular Melatus, are completely contradicting themselves as Socrates states,” For he certainly does appear to me to contradict himself in the indictment as much as if he said that Socrates is guilty of not believing in the gods, and yet of believing them- but this surely is a piece of nonsense”. He also further refutes this argument by glorifying the oracle as a God. This causes Socrates to fulfill the oracles prophesy by admitting he knows nothing. When Socrates first heard the oracles prophesy he questioned it at first because he did not believe he was the wisest man. But in the end he accepted it by stating, “… he is a god, and cannot lie; that would be against his nature”. He goes on to prove his devotion to the gods, in particular the oracle by refusing to stop fulfilling the oracles prophesy. He states, “… obedient to the gods,...

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